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Old 25-02-2016, 12:28   #1
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Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

I just bought a Ventura 150 on Ebay. The unit is new and never installed, but was manufactured in 2013. I know ro membranes have a shelf life of about a year. But I would like to have a an idea of how much performance should I loose with this three year old membrane. If it's around 40% I would definitely replace it, but if its around 10% I would keep it. Anyone with experience in this?
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Old 25-02-2016, 12:47   #2
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

Why not install it and see that it gives adequate volume and TDS readings? If not, you can easily swap the membrane.
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Old 25-02-2016, 12:59   #3
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

Sorry I forgot to say that I am currently in the Chesapeake preparing the boat to leave for the Caribbean in the fall. Testing it in brackish water wouldn't help and not sure if I can make seawater in a bucket for testing.
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Old 25-02-2016, 13:17   #4
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

On advice I mixed sea salt with bottled water to test my system & membranes. Look up the tds of seawater for the concentration to use, I've forgotten.

Sea salt is used in cooking, supermarkets sell it.

Used bottled water because chlorinated tap water ruins membranes, or so I was told.

Pickled it after testing to avoid leaving salt water in the unit.
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Old 25-02-2016, 13:19   #5
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

If you plan to use it on your offshore to the Carib, then getting near the Bay entrance on an incoming tide and getting a few hours testing on it would be wise.
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Old 25-02-2016, 13:23   #6
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

Is the shelf life of an unused membrane really only 1 year???

I am a bit puzzled.

What 'kills' it then?

b.
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Old 25-02-2016, 18:06   #7
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miguelso View Post
Sorry I forgot to say that I am currently in the Chesapeake preparing the boat to leave for the Caribbean in the fall. Testing it in brackish water wouldn't help and not sure if I can make seawater in a bucket for testing.
This is basically an impossible question to answer, especially since you dont know the storage conditions of the unit. The only really practical way to answer it is by testing.

Yes, absolutely you can mix up a batch of sea water, in fact its a Spectra recommendation for testing systems when no clean sea water source is available. Go to an aquarium shop and get some "Instant Ocean" or similar, mix up a 5 gallon bucket and give it a spin. Test with a known good (calibrated) TDS meter. You can then compare to the Spectra salinity probe reading and calibrate the Spectra system if needed.

This procedure is described in Spectra documentation which you should be able to download from their web site.

VERY IMPORTANT: use only chlorine free fresh water to mix up your salt water solution or you may damage the membrane.
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Old 25-02-2016, 18:14   #8
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

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Originally Posted by barnakiel View Post
Is the shelf life of an unused membrane really only 1 year???

I am a bit puzzled.

What 'kills' it then?

b.
Membranes can last a very long time if properly cared for, but just sitting in an unused unit they are likely to develop bio contamination (thats what kills them). My first membrane, in regular use, lasted about 8 years.

In theory they should last indefinately in a sterile, hermetically sealed environment...I doubt a used unit off eBay meets those conditions.

Seals and such get brittle over extended periods of non use. I expect the first few runs of this unit will expose some leaks and that seals will need to be replaced. Not hard to do, especially if the unit is not yet installed and you can do this on a work bench. If installed, and a lot of seals need replacing, pull it out, you will be glad you did.
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Old 25-02-2016, 18:46   #9
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

Here ya go:

This is an excerpt from the Catalina manual, but same concept applies:
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Old 25-02-2016, 20:47   #10
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

Quote:
Originally Posted by unclemack View Post
On advice I mixed sea salt with bottled water to test my system & membranes. Look up the tds of seawater for the concentration to use, I've forgotten.

Sea salt is used in cooking, supermarkets sell it.

Used bottled water because chlorinated tap water ruins membranes, or so I was told.

Pickled it after testing to avoid leaving salt water in the unit.
I went to the Spectre Roving Technician class and yes...it is true that you should never use chlorinated water. I'm guess it should be fine. I bought mine used, had it tested at Spectre and it was deemed fine and then pickled. I'm on the hard in Mexico at this time as I complete a ton of projects, including installation of my unit.
Membranes are relatively cheap, depending if it's a 40" or 20".
P.S. ...why not just call Spectre. The best customer service in the industry, IMHO
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Old 25-02-2016, 21:29   #11
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

Just to clarify the system is new, never installed and still in the original package, but manufactured in 2013. I tried to contact Spectra through their website and no response so far, I'll try calling them. I'll go ahead and install it and do the seawater test in the bucket.
Thanks for all the info.
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Old 25-02-2016, 22:06   #12
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

Give tellie a call . He will answer all your questions 24 hours a day
Halden Marine Services | Marine Watermakers, Solar Panels, Wind Generators
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Old 26-02-2016, 07:35   #13
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

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Give tellie a call . He will answer all your questions 24 hours a day
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Geesh, finally. Thanks Newhaul.

First the shelf life of a membrane is term used when a membrane is new and still sealed in it's plastic sleeve and not installed in a watermaker. Usually I quote it will be good for a year or a little more as long as it is not opened or exposed to excessive heat, like the trunk of a car. A membrane in a new Spectra has been tested then re-pickled at the factory before it is packed and shipped with Propylene Glycol and sent out. This usually protects the membrtane just fine. I've started plenty of new systems that have sat unused for a few years and were never started and the membrane was fine. The smaller 21" membranes like are in your Ventura 150 seem to last longer on average than the 40" membranes. But I would test it first as others have suggested. But first you must flush the system for a good twenty minutes first with the pressure relief valve open. The manual will tell you to do this using the water you are floating in. Since this is not an option I would suggest you set the system to the fresh water flush mode and run fresh water from your tanks through it, about 30-40 gallons. Then as was suggested, go to your local pet store and buy Artificial Ocean salt and a cheap hydrometer. But about five gallons of distilled water and pour it into a five gallon bucket and mix the salt into the four gallons. The fifth gallon is to help adjust the PPM readings to about 34,000PPM reading on the hydrometer. Then using the pickling kit hoses thast should be with your system, attach them and lead the ends to the bucket. Run the system for about five minutes first because there is fresh water in your system mixing with the salt water and you'll need to adjust the PPMs. Then close the pressure relief valve and also divert the product tube to the bucket and run your system for another five minutes. Then remove the product tube. and fill a glass of water and test with a hand held TDS meter. You should read between 200-350PPMs. Dump the frsh glass of water back into the five gallon buckt and repeat this test in another five minutes. Also look at the production in the flow meter. Report these numbers back here and I can tell pretty much what's going on with your membrane.

Or, bring the boat down to Fort Lauderdale and come to my watermaker class in July before you head off and we'll have the whole class in on it. I'll have membranes there and show you how to replace it and properly take care of your watermaker. You can call me to.

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PS, None of my business but I always like to know what some one paid for a Spectra off of E-bay or Craigs List.
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Old 26-02-2016, 10:06   #14
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

Quote:
Originally Posted by Miguelso View Post
Just to clarify the system is new, never installed and still in the original package, but manufactured in 2013. I tried to contact Spectra through their website and no response so far, I'll try calling them. I'll go ahead and install it and do the seawater test in the bucket.
Thanks for all the info.
Wow, that may have been a good buy, if at a favorable price (?) then you likely only need membrane and maybe some seals.
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Old 26-02-2016, 10:11   #15
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Re: Spectra watermake membrane shelf life

Tellie, question for you:

As I understand it Spectera warranty/support is for the life of the product to the original owner. How do you/Spectra handle support/warranty for the second owner of a "new" unit, like the OP's situation?
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